Feb 082011
Authors: Phoenix MourningStar

A group of 6 to 12 students are planning to take over the world.

Maybe not the world, but at least the CSU campus.

With the upcoming Associated Students of CSU elections, the current members are becoming less focused on the student body and more focused on running campaigns for re-election.

Invisible lines are drawn in the sand, rumors run rampant, political posturing becomes a necessary survival tactic and, if you’re lucky, you find out who your friends are.

While this might sound an awful lot like the student council we gladly left behind in high school, the importance and similarity to the ‘real life’ political gamesmanship can be eye opening.

As a previous chief of staff of ASCSU, I’ve had a first-hand look into the belly of the beast that is student government. While the innards of this beast are just as ugly as you might imagine (think of a mix between “Mean Girls”, “Glee” and “Social Network”), there may be no better experience and educational opportunity than rolling up your sleeves and getting in there.

While there are reasons to bash a student government, we have a unique opportunity to invoke change –– some might even think of this as a responsibility.

With the arduous times that are ASCSU elections, I thought I would offer up some of my own insights into the campaign season.

Starting with basics. Let the student body know how much of their money is controlled by ASCSU –– isn’t their budget around $1.7 million?
I also want to encourage candidates to forge an early agreement that states, whomever is elected, losing candidates will in some way be involved in the cabinet.

Next, break the rules. Better yet, forget the rules. Sometimes reinventing the wheel is a waste of energy. Other times the only way to think outside of the box is to throw the damn box away.

Listen. The CSU administration and the Fort Collins community aren’t voting –– the students are. So represent the students.

Pick your battles. We need to let the administration address budget concerns. The budget is going to be whatever the budget is going to be. ASCSU representatives need to come up with innovative ways to decrease the financial impact on students.

Let’s get greener. Not everyone is a hippie, but most of the students on this campus are looking for ways to be more environmentally friendly. Can’t we do bigger and better than Recyclemania and CSUnity? It’s hard to do big things in 12 months, so find a way to embolden the ASCSU Senate to carry the torch on a “kick-butt” long-term environmental project.

ASCSU can extend a hand to the Graduate Student Council by allocating graduate student funds to be controlled by the council.

ASCSU can address diversity—A hot topic on campus, but only when issues arise. They can take a bold stance on defining the importance of diversity and by building partnerships with the representatives of cultural centers across campus. ASCSU can make a concerted effort to represent all students.

We are a fortunate campus to have the power our student government wields on our behalf. Possibly even more empowering than that is the access to the upper echelons of our university’s administration team and their willingness and interest in our ideas. Now more than ever is the time to come out, be heard and put your name on an idea or two. No matter how crazy it may be, the world is looking for new solutions.

Phoenix Mourning-Star is a graduate student in environmental health. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 3:43 pm

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